If you had an option, would you wish to go back or go forward to meet your family members – your ancestors/descendants?
I know its an unrealistic theory but lets just play at manipulating time. Which would you want to do? What would appeal most? To go back or go forward to meet your family members – your ancestors or your descendants?
I recently came up with this question and it took some time to decide which way I would jump. How about you?
After much internal debate, my choice would be to go back to visit my ancestors. These are the people that fascinate me. Around Scotland and England I’ve visited houses and piles of rocks where houses once stood, I’ve looked over farmlands and walked streets I know my ancestors walked. I can never stop the shiver that often accompanies these ventures.
I would love to talk with great, great grandparents who were crofters in Caithness, Scotland, or hop farmers/republicans in Kent, England. Had it been a difficult decision to pull up stakes and venture to the opposite side of the world to live? How easily had poverty overcome fear of the unknown? Or did they view the shift as an adventure as another side of my family, from Cornwall, did when they set off for the gold fields of Australia, and hence New Zealand?
But most of all, I would love to meet my Shetland Island ancestors. These are the people that fascinate me the most. Did my mother and I both inherit our love of the sea from these ocean faring ancestors? Does salt water run in our veins like it must have with them? Sitting on the beach where they would have launched and beached their sixern boat, knowing how unforgiving the sea could be, I was in awe.
In a few months, God willing, I’ll be visiting the Shetland Islands again. You can be sure I’ll be doing the rounds of their houses – now all just piles of stones – their schools, their graveyards but mostly I’ll be visiting the beach at Melby and wondering how they survived such hardship.
So which direction would you choose? Go back or go forward to meet your family? Which would thrill you the most?